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1/17/1997

A different limelight

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Close-ups show a gorgeous blonde, looking alluringly at observers.

As the view widens, the audience sees the stunning female strolling down a catwalk, sequins shining and face beaming. Sometimes she sings for the crowds. Sometimes she dances. She possesses the glamour and confidence of an experienced model.

Wearing a Las Vegas showgirl outfit complete with long, white feathers, she has become America's most famous beauty queen. Her life was spent in the public eye.

The charming beauty is often the center of attention and appears to love every minute of it.

Her movements are that of a grown woman. But her naked legs below a short, shimmery dress shows otherwise.

The knobby knees and skinny legs of JonBenet Ramsey reveal her age.

Again, she is the center of attention, but the 6-year-old Boulder girl is not here to love it.

Almost immediately after the 1995 Little Miss Colorado was found murdered in her family's upscale home, JonBenet's death, as in life, was catapulted into the limelight.

That is where she lived most of her short life.

None of the pageantry, however, brought about the intense media coverage that her death did.

JonBenet was killed sometime between Christmas evening and when her father, prominent Boulder businessman John Ramsey , 53, found her body in a remote room in their basement. The rumor mill churned with so-called details of the little girl's murder .

Some ``sources'' said her skull was fractured. Others said she was sexually assaulted. Police didn't say a thing. In fact, the authorities remained virtually silent throughout the investigation. The coroner's office reported JonBenet had been strangled.

As police dug deeper, Boulder and the nation remembered the precocious child.

Her pretty face adorned magazine covers. Her presence and charm graced stages, parades and catwalks. The public knows JonBenet from her pageant photographs and the videos that have been circulated throughout the media.

But people who knew her said she was a bright and talented kindergartner at High Peaks Elementary School in Boulder. She excelled in her class.

Friends of the Ramsey family said JonBenet was always smiling. She wowed pageant judges and became Little Miss Charlevoix (Mich.), Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, America's Royal Miss and the National Tiny Miss Beauty, Little Miss Merry Christmas, to name a few.

The little southern belle -- born in Atlanta in 1990 -- appeared to be following in her mother's footsteps. JonBenet's mother, Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey , 39, was the 1977 Miss West Virginia.

JonBenet is the small girl who appears to have gotten lost among crime-scene photo thefts, an information blackout and Boulder officials criticizing the media coverage.

Now in the third week of the murder investigation, Boulder police have released very little information. Chief Tom Koby said any leaks could damage the integrity of the investigation. Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter agreed.